Cultural Circles and Epic Transmission: The Dai People in China

This essay discusses the dual influences of Buddhist culture and indigenous religion found in Dai communities in terms of “cultural circles” and demonstrates that all Dai traditional poetry—Buddhist and indigenous—employs a key technique that can be termed “waist-feet rhyme,” wherein the last syllable of one line rhymes with an internal syllable in the succeeding line. This feature is embedded in both the oral and written traditions and is an important enabling device within the poetry of the Dai people.